Festival of Instrumental Music

Years 3 to 6 students and teachers

The Festival of Instrumental Music (FoIM) presents concerts of diverse and engaging repertoire, as well as specially commissioned works by Australian composers for students to perform.

The concerts include the FoIM Combined Schools Recorder Ensemble and the FoIM Combined Schools Strings Ensemble. Teachers access quality professional learning and repertoire to introduce to recorder and string ensembles.


Please be aware that this Festival will be contingent on advice provided by the Department of Education in consultation with NSW Health, and can change at short notice.

Department of Education latest information on COVID-19 advice.

Applications for the Festival of Instrumental Music 2022 are now open.

To apply for Festival of Instrumental Music 2022 complete the online application form via The Arts Unit Community.

We are using a new online portal, The Arts Unit Community to receive 2021 school applications. Adding 'The Arts Unit Community' tile in your 'Essentials - Inside the department', you can edit your forms and communicate with us. 

If you need IT assistance with your application in the TAU Community portal, please log an EDConnect remedy request or email tausupport@det.nsw.edu.au.

Applications close Friday 11 February 2022.

The NSW Department of Education will present 4 concerts of diverse repertoire, as well as some specially commissioned works by Australian composers, in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House. School recorder and string ensembles comprising students from Stage 2 and 3 will join together to form the combined recorder and string ensembles. As well as their individual pieces, these 2 ensembles will perform a combined item to conclude the concerts.

There will be no audition required for the combined recorder and string ensembles in 2022.

  • All public schools that apply will be accepted.
  • A maximum of 30 students per school will be considered, although this number may be capped/reduced depending on how many schools apply.
  • If you wish to nominate more than 30 students from your school, you will be able to indicate this on the application form.

Combined Recorder and Combined String Repertoire

The 2022 repertoire includes especially selected and arranged works from a variety of genres for the recorder and string ensembles. In 2022, two pieces commissioned from Australian composers will receive their world premiere on the stage of the magnificent, newly refurbished Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House.

Music for the Combined Recorder Ensemble is written for Descant 1, Descant 2, Treble 1, Treble 2, Tenor and Bass parts. Teachers should only nominate their students for the Descant 2 part if they are beginner players. Experienced players should be nominated to the more advanced Descant 1, and/or treble, tenor or bass parts. Teachers are encouraged to discuss their recorder ensemble’s circumstances with Susan Sukkar - Arts Coordination Officer, The Arts Unit: (M) 0430299221 or email: Susan.Sukkar@det.nsw.edu.au

Music for the Combined Strings Ensemble is at approximately a Grade 2 - 2.5 ensemble standard. As a guide, students nominated for the Sydney Opera House concert should be at a minimum of AMEB Grade 1 level and should be able to play with all fingers in flat and sharp positions. The Violin 1 part also includes some sections in 3rd position.

The Ensemble is made up of 6 sections: Violin 1, Violin 2, Violin 3 (Viola treble clef), Viola, Cello and Double Bass. Schools are encouraged to nominate a balanced ensemble in order to give their students the optimum experience, especially during school-based rehearsals, wherever possible.

2022 concert dates at the Sydney Opera House

  • Acacia Concert: Monday 29 August 2022, 7 pm 
  • Banksia Concert: Tuesday 30 August 2022, 7 pm 
  • Jacaranda Concert: Wednesday 31 August 2022, 7 pm 
  • Mimosa Concert: Thursday 1 September 2022, 7pm


Recorder Preliminary rehearsals at the Salvation Army Congress Hall - mandatory (metropolitan schools only)

  • Acacia rehearsal: Monday 25 July 2022, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm 
  • Banksia rehearsal: Tuesday 26 July 2022, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm 
  • Jacaranda rehearsal: Wednesday 27 July 2022, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm 
  • Mimosa rehearsal: Thursday 28 July 2022, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm

String Preliminary rehearsals at Concord West Public School (TBC) - mandatory (metropolitan schools only)

  • Acacia rehearsal: Monday 25 July 2022, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm 
  • Banksia rehearsal: Tuesday 26 July 2022, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm 
  • Jacaranda rehearsal: Wednesday 27 July 2022, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm 
  • Mimosa rehearsal: Thursday 28 July 2022, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm

Cluster rehearsals (non-metropolitan schools only)

  • Non-metropolitan schools are strongly encouraged to host or attend a 4-hour cluster rehearsal with other nearby participating schools (if possible) during Term 2 or 3, as negotiated with Susan Sukkar and Luke Wallace.


  • Participation fee of $37.00 per student will be payable upon acceptance into the program.   
  • A rural and remote subsidy of 25% will be offered to all students attending from rural and remote schools as identified by the Department.
  • In the event of a COVID-19 related withdrawal from the festival performance, schools will be refunded 50% of the participation fee paid.

Professional learning and resources

It is mandatory that at least one teacher from each participating school attend the teachers professional development webinar:

  • Festival of Instrumental Music – Recorders - teachers’ professional development webinar - Monday 28 February 2022, 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm and/or
  • Festival of Instrumental Music – Strings - teachers’ professional development webinar - Tuesday 1 March 2022, 4:30pm to 6:30 pm

All public school teachers are welcome to attend either (or both) of these webinars. Please register by Friday 11 February 2022 to receive your copy of the 2022 Festival of Instrumental Music (FoIM) repertoire.

A range of online repertoire resources will become available upon registration.

Each participating school (teacher) will receive a 2022 Festival of Instrumental Music repertoire book (recorders and/or strings) from which to make copies for your participating students.

Each participating student and teacher will receive a specially designed T-shirt to wear at the performance.

Individual school instrumental and vocal items

In 2022 performance opportunities are available for outstanding individual school instrumental and vocal items at the Festival of Instrumental Music, Festival of Choral Music and Primary Proms. These opportunities are open to all public school students (Years K to 12) and can include music ensembles of all sizes, large or small – including soloists. Application by video audition will open on Tuesday 26 April 2022.


For further information concerning the Festival of Instrumental Music 2022 please contact Susan Sukkar- Arts Coordination Officer at The Arts Unit:  (M) 0430 299 221 or email Susan.Sukkar@det.nsw.edu.au or concerts.artsunit@det.nsw.edu.au

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